“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!”
In spite of their malicious words, the accusations of the Jewish leaders have insight. Jesus was the man able to save others. During his ministry, the blind received sight. The lame rose from their mats. Even the dead stepped alive from their graves. Jesus saved others. But at the key moment of his mission he does nothing to save himself. He refuses to accept the crowd’s invitation: “Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
As I read this passage, I am carried back to the temptations Jesus endured at the beginning of his ministry. The devil invited Jesus to throw himself down from the top of the temple and be rescued by angels! But Jesus refused the devil’s offer (Matthew 4:5-7). And now he refuses a similar temptation. Jesus will not jump down from the cross just to win the admiration of the crowd!
Instead, Jesus will endure the excruciating agony of the cross. Why? Because he understands the deep truth by which salvation comes. The taunts of the religious leaders have profound meaning beyond their comprehension. In order to save others, Jesus cannot save himself. In order to fulfill his calling as Savior, he will surrender his own life. Only then will guilt be covered. Only then will the power of sin and Satan be defeated.
Jesus refused to save himself. I humbly give thanks for that. It’s the reason why he can save me—and you.
Lord, thank you for resisting temptation and choosing the way of weakness to save us. Lord, I am weak. Cleanse me and help me to stand strong as your child. Amen.
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